If This Then That (IFTTT) has become the ultimate integration service for small tasks between internet-connected services and devices. IFTTT can handle anything its member service “channels” support, combining them to do something automatically for you (albeit with limitations set by the providers of the service—we’re looking at you, Gmail). And it does it all for free.
Activate any of the available channels of IFTTT related to services or products you use or own. Each has its own set of triggers (the “if this” part) or actions (the “then that” side), or both. For example, make a status update on one service (a trigger) and IFTTT ensures an action takes place on another channel, like reposting that update. The result is called an “applet” (previously known as a recipe).
There are channels for just about every big-name web service and smart home product and many more; too many to possibly name here. It’s organized as of this writing by category, from Appliances down to Voice Assistants and Weather. Use the search at the top to narrow down a service you want to use.
You can build applets on IFTTT.com or in the iOS and Android mobile apps. There are generic channels for things like stocks, weather, date, time, and taking or making SMS messages and phone calls. There’s even some “button widgets” to create smartphone home-screen-activated instant applets.
Imagine putting these services to work, automating all the annoying things you now do manually. No more cross posting, no more extra emailing, no more backing up with cut-and-paste jobs. IFTTT takes care of it all.
Below, you’ll find links to some of the best and most used applets IFTTT has to offer. Applets can be shared, making it easy for you to customize them to your needs. But this is only the tip of the IFTTT-berg. Create a great applet yourself, share it, and post it in the comments below so we know what we’re missing.
If you want to share Instagram photos directly and instantly on more than that one social network, let IFTTT tweet them for you, with the full image. Sure, you can do this right in the Instagram app, but this makes the pic look like you uploaded it direct to Twitter first and foremost.
This one does exactly what it says on the tin: it lets you use any Alexa-powered speaker to make a phone call (using the IFTTT VoIP Call service) to a pre-specified number. You can stipulate the exact phrase you use with Alexa to make the call.
IFTTT also has a Google Assistant version that puts the IFTTT VoIP Call service into action. Note that if you want to set up a call to a number different than yours—say to find your wife’s lost phone—set the IFTTT Phone Call (US only) service to the second person’s number by clicking on Settings, and use the IFTTT VoIP calls service for your own number (because you can’t, apparently, edit it). VoIP Calls has to be used if the phone has a non-US number.
Android phones can enjoy a new look daily, courtesy of the IFTTT Space service, which is powered by NASA, Open Notify, Mars Atmospheric Aggregation System, and How Many People Are In Space Right Now. Space junkies should be checking out this channel of IFTTT to build lots of applets. (There’s nothing like this for iOS; Apple doesn’t let IFTTT get that kind of access.)
Another excellent example of space fun from IFTTT, just specify your location during setup, and the IFTTT Notifications service will send info to your phone when the International Space Station is in your vicinity.
Another one for the smart speaker users, this one only works with Google Assistant because it will parse what you say and turn it into a tweet; Amazon Alexa can’t do that right now via IFTTT. You can set up this applet to use a “text ingredient” by inserting a special character—in this case the dollar sign ($)—to represent what you’ll say. The Google Assistant will repeat it back to you for confirmation before tweeting. It works like a charm. See?
I am testing out Twitter via IFTTT and Google home
— Eric Griffith (@egriffith) July 18, 2019
The only way to send an SMS message with IFTTT is using the Android SMS service. (Neither SMS nor iMessage are an option for iOS users through IFTTT; that’s how Apple wants it.) This SMS only works if the IFTTT app is installed on the Android phone used to send the message. With an Android Assistant-powered speaker at home, you can tell it “Hey Google, message [name] $,” where you replace the name (obviously) and the dollar sign becomes whatever you say after—that gets texted to your friend without you lifting a thumb.
You want to always be on the meme cutting-edge, right? This applet makes sure you get a weekly (or daily) digest message containing all the animated GIFs currently trending from Giphy so you’ll be ready to share.
Your Feedly RSS reader is pretty great but not perfect for saving and reading things later. Why worry? With this applet, IFTTT tosses any article you do save in Feedly to Pocket, the best read-it-later service.
Status updates on Facebook may almost seem passé, but a pithy little text blurb, preferably still under 140 characters, is still the best way to get your highly wrought emotions out there. This applet makes sure if you post an status to Facebook, it instantly gets shared on Twitter.
This is almost exactly like the applet above, but is for sharing links you post on Facebook. The tweet gets the same link, and all your followers know where to go, no matter what service you use. But guess what? You can’t go the other direction and have your tweets automatically get posted to your Facebook timeline—unless you are running a Facebook Page, which are usually for businesses and big names.
Not every photo of you on Facebook is one you post. If friends tag you all the time and you’d like a collection of those shots, this applet will download them into a photo album on your iOS device. It only works on new images posted; it won’t go find any old stuff because that’s not how IFTTT rolls. Live in the now.
IFTTT has a few services that display as widgets on an iOS or Android device; this one is specific to the IFTTT Note widget. Click it to activate the widget, and you get a quicky notepad you can type into on your phone screen. Fill it with as much detail as you can about an upcoming appointment, and it’ll get saved to your specified Google Calendar for the right time. You can also use the Notes widget to do things like post a tweet, post to Blogger, email yourself, even set the temperature on a smart thermostat.
The button widget gives you a quick method of activating things with a quick push on your smartphone screen. In this case, you can pretend to be checking a message and hit a button and activate a call back to your phone. Use it to get the hell out of that disastrous date or interview.
A great way to save links in a tweet to read later, this applet places the first link found in any tweet you like in the read-it-later service’s storage bin.
The most used thing on my Amazon Echo is the timer, for everything from watering orchids to cooking up fancy dinners. But sometimes you have to walk away from the Alexa-speaker counting down for you, and you might miss the alarm. This applet sends a notification—using the IFTTT Notifications option—directly to the IFTTT app on your phone.
Why have a static Twitter account profile pic? Whenever you update your look on Facebook, it can be reflected on Twitter as well, auto-magically, with this applet.
Mark a video on YouTube as liked (thumbs up) and this applet does a search of the title on Spotify for the same name. If it finds a match, the song gets added to your Spotify playlist called “YouTube.”
This applet use the IFTTT camera widget on your smartphone. Hit the button to activate the widget, take a quick snap of your receipt, and it is tossed to Evernote for future use in an expense report or to prove you really did buy a gift that you forgot to give.
With an Android phone, you can use your location (such as when you arrive at the office) to automatically switch your phone to vibrate. This one should be used by everyone, but if you put in the address for your local movie theater, I’d appreciate it. Be sure to use it in conjunction with the “unmute when I get home” applet.
Always adding info to your iPhone or iPad? The IFTTT app for iOS ensures new contacts are backed up when created. Use this applet to append them to a new line on a Google Drive spreadsheet. Note this only works for new contacts; it won’t back up existing contacts.
Smart lights like the Philips Hue can do a lot more than be controlled by an app or you voice. With IFTTT, change the lighting based your location or, as in the case here, let the weather change them. This applet looks for changes from Weather Underground to turn your lights on when the sun goes down. You can also change the hue when it rains or snows.
Weather services like Weather Underground also keep tabs on the pollen count. It can send you a warning when it hits your allergy trigger number on the 1 to 11 scale (usually 6 or higher sucks) so you can remember the antihistamine before you leave the house.
IFTTT’s own Date & Time service can be set to trigger applets at various times, from hourly up to annually. This one is the latter, letting you create a cleverly timed email reminder so you don’t forget to get a gift.
If you take a lot of screenshots for work, especially on your iPhone, you know organizing them is a painful experience. Tap into some extra organization by letting IFTTT shunt every screen you take into OneNote, where you can deal with them all later, even on the desktop. You could also create your own applet to send screenshots to other services like Evernote and Flickr.